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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Mar;30(3):840-7.

Site of antigen delivery can influence T cell priming: pulmonary environment promotes preferential Th2-type differentiation.

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1
Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven 06520-8011, USA. stephanie.constant@yale.edu

Abstract

Delivery of foreign antigens to mucosal surfaces, such as the pulmonary airways, has been shown to preferentially induce Th2-mediated responses in humans and in mice. What is not clear from these studies is whether this preferential skewing in responses is the result of the limited types of antigen being administered and/or a bias towards using particular genetic strains of mice, or whether the lung environment in itself provides a favored site for the priming of Th2-type cells. We have addressed this issue using an antigen/mouse strain combination that, under typical conditions of immunization, is strongly biased towards priming for Th1 CD4+ T cells. We show that Leishmania major parasites delivered to C57BL/6 mice via an intranasal route fail to induce the expected Th1-dominated responses and instead preferentially prime for Th2 responses. These included an influx in lymphocytes and eosinophils into alveoli, as well as the induction of Th2-type foci of inflammation around pulmonary blood vessels and airways. Moreover, high levels of Th2-associated cytokines (IL-4 and IL-5) were generated when lung-draining lymph node and tissue cells were restimulated with L. major lysate. These data suggest that the lung environment per se favors Th differentiation towards the Th2 phenotype.

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